Sony's recently announced game-streaming service, PlayStation Now, is live at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and we just got a chance to try it out. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, but this is definitely something you'll want on your console or TV.
The idea is similar to other game-streaming services of the recent past: OnLive, which let you stream games to an iPad or PC app, and GaiKai, which did a similar thing with a browser plugin — and which Sony purchased a few years ago.
PlayStation Now works on any PS4, PS3, and most 2014 model TVs, according to a Sony representative. Just select a game from the list, let it load up and play as normal. But the image you see is actually being generated by a console probably a few hundred miles away, then streamed to you live, like a movie on Netflix.
Right now, only a few titles are available — some high-profile games from the last year or two. But Sony told NBC News that it plans to expand the lineup considerably, including games from the original PlayStation console.
As is unavoidable in streaming services like this, the controls do have a bit of lag — nothing really bad, I found, but noticeable. And the video quality, while good and certainly HD, certainly doesn't have the vibrancy or detail you'd see if the game were in your own local console.
The fun part is that you don't even need a console at all. Sony's latest TVs all have the requisite wireless tech built-in, so just buy a Dual Shock controller and you're good to go. That's certainly a powerful incentive to buy Sony if you're looking for a new TV.
The service is entering closed beta later this month, and it should be rolling out to a wider audience in the summer. No word on the full launch lineup yet, but expect quite a few high-profile titles to be available in order to tempt players into springing for the service — whatever it costs.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.